Written by Frances K Wolfe on Monday the 17th of October 2011
This is a sample of what I wrote for the Royal Court. It's about a rapist and the girl he raped who end up writing letters to each other. I smoked a bit too much weed and threw in some demons and cowboys. It was rejected straight away.
The sound of a metal door slamming shut
with a clink. LIGHT UP.
Mary and Adam sit on the left and the
right chair, facing the audience and illuminated by two spotlights. Mary is
wearing a straight jacket, and Adam is wearing grey overalls, standard prison
issue. The sound of birds taking flight plays overhead, and BAEL slinks onto
stage, barely visible in the darkness, but dances slowly towards Mary. Segments
of his body are caught in the illumination, but all that can be made out are
feathers and the occasional flash of beak.
MARY: Did I fall asleep?
BAEL: Just for an hour or two.
MARY: I didn't dream.
BAEL: Not even a little bit?
MARY: No, not even a little bit.
BAEL: You were screaming in your sleep.
MARY: I usually do.
BAEL: You must have remembered then.
MARY: I think I did, yes. For a moment.
BAEL: It's not nice in here. Not nice at all.
MARY: The bed sheets are too thin.
BAEL: The food is all mushy.
MARY: It smells like Nan's house. I want to leave now.
BAEL: Can't leave. And all those pills don't help. Make everything
sanitised and clean on the inside. But we're not clean are we?
MARY: Not even close.
BAEL: Recall what I used to say -
MARY: There is no sanctuary in sanity.
BAEL: Not in times like these. Locked away for a crime of the mind -
MARY: A choice I should have.
BAEL: The choice to not suffer. Instead they tie you up, left to rot and
MARY: I can't remember.
BAEL: Yes you can; there were ropes and radiators -
BAEL: Alright, alright. Don't start that rocking again. Backwards and
forwards, speaking in tongues like some hoodoo priest.
BAEL: Proactive thinking. That's what we need.
He starts to pace around MARY in
BAEL: We can't think.
MARY: I can't think.
BAEL: All we have to do is think. And we can either think about what
BAEL: - or we could plan ahead.
MARY: Fine. Let's think.
MARY: Again? There's nothing more depressing than another failed suicide
BAEL: You only need to succeed the once.
MARY: But I'm useless, it always goes wrong.
He stops pacing and sits down cross-legged
BAEL: What about jumping off something high? That should do it.
MARY: It'll hurt. And I don't like heights.
BAEL: Life hurts.
MARY: I don't want it to hurt.
BAEL: Coward, it'll only for a second. What are you so keen to eager to
stick around for anyway?
MARY: I dunno.
BAEL: This to happen again?
MARY: It won't happen again.
BAEL: It will. You're so silly to let it happen once, whose to say it
won't happen again? We can never trust ourself to make a judgement call again.
MARY: I agree.
BAEL stands and begins pacing again.
BAEL: End it.
MARY: But I tried!
BAEL: A citalopram overdose is not trying. You can wikipedia the results
to see there's nothing fatal about the stuff. Temazepan will do it.
MARY: They won't give me more than four.
BAEL: Yes, yes, that's true.
MARY: What else?
MARY: No good beams. It's hard to find a good beam these days.
MARY: No gas ovens anymore. And I don't have a car. What am I going to
really be able to do inside here anyway?
BAEL: Why is this so tricky? (contemplates,
then excited) I say do something rash. Stab yourself in the eyeball. At
least you'd be making a statement.
MARY: We won't do that.
BAEL sighs and sits again; they both think
for a moment.
MARY: I'm bored.
BAEL: Let's play a game.
MARY: What sort of a game?
BAEL: Let's play wishes.
BAEL: If you had one wish?
MARY: I wish that ...
BAEL perks up, as if she's going to say
something very exciting.
BAEL: Go on.
MARY: I wish I had died then, on that day.
He slumps, uninterested in the revelation.
BAEL: Well, obviously.
MARY: They call me lucky -
BAEL: They don't know.
MARY: They'll never know.
BAEL: I really don't know why you don't stab yourself in the eyeball.
It'd be much better to walk out than keep going through all of this melodrama.
Eventually they'll start letting you eat with proper utensils again, and you
could pop a fork into your brain quick as a bullet.
MARY: But if maybe if we wait-
BAEL: Wait for what?
MARY: Something else.
BAEL: Like what?
MARY: A change in circumstance. I can hardly make a rational choice
stuck in this nuthouse with a vulture for company.
BAEL: I'm fine company, watch your mouth.
MARY: I just need to think straight.
BAEL helpfully: Why does
everyone cut their wrists? The femoral arteries are much easier. And you can
use your right hand for both.
MARY: Next time.
IPOS: Oh, it's always next time with you. Always tomorrow. And is
tomorrow ever any better than today? This is your problem. You've always been
weak. Weak enough to allow yourself to get involved with the likes of that - gestures at Adam, still motionless - too
weak to kill yourself and too weak to live outside of here. Weak, weak, weak.
Maybe we need to learn how to be strong.
MARY: I don't know how to be strong. Your not strong either.
BAEL: Fine. We'll get a second opinion. Think it up.
BAEL: You want strength? We'll get strength. Think of the strongest
person you can think of.
They both concentrate in silence.
The spotlights on MARY and ADAM dim, as
ENNIO MORRICONE's 'THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY THEME' plays. A spotlight
focuses on the back of the stage where COWBOY enters slowly. They both stare at
him, as he walks forward, tall and proud until he is standing next to them. The
music stops, and the lighting returns to normal.
MARY: What. The. Fuck. Is. That?
BAEL: Clint Eastwood.
MARY: No, no, no, that's my psychosis.
BAEL: It's your inner strength.
MARY: Why is he dead?
COWBOY: Do the math.
BAEL: Well join the debate. Life or death. Discuss.
BAEL (turning to MARY in a
victorious pose): See? What did I say? Die young, live fast - no hope, no
service, no shoes/
COWBOY: /Kill him.
COWBOY: You want strength? That's strength. Bludgeon his brains out with
an anvil. Shoot him in the face with 2.25 ounches of buckshot. He thinks he's
so big and bad, why don't you show him what big and bad really looks like?
Nastiest looking deaths are the one that come at the hands of revenge.
MARY: I'm not right.
BAEL: Well, obviously.
COWBOY: What do you want? If you could do anything, what would you do?
MARY: I'd make him suffer.
COWBOY: Make the snivelling reptile suffer them. Write to him. Tell him
what he did.
MARY: He knows what he did. He was there, wasn't he?
COWBOY: It's not about that bastard animal. It's about you, and what he
did to you. More than that, the event is done. It's how you live with it that
counts. And you can't leave it this way. (hesistates
then gentle) y'all remember your last words, dontchu?
COWBOY: As far as last words go, those were the worst damned words ever
COWBOY: At least take back your last words. That you can do.